Author Topic: High-speed train through Isaan  (Read 636 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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High-speed train through Isaan
« on: October 27, 2010, 11:30:48 AM »
High-speed train project moves ahead

Framework approved for Thai-China talks

A joint parliamentary session has approved a draft framework for negotiations with China on a national high-speed train network project for Thailand.

Lawmakers yesterday voted 295 to 10 in favour of the negotiation framework.

Sixty-one MPs abstained and 21 did not exercise their right to vote.

Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum said officials from his ministry and those from its Chinese counterpart planned to meet soon to discuss the project, including what priority the different proposed routes should receive.

The project would see China build five high-speed railway routes linking Bangkok to Nong Khai, Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani, Rayong and Padang Besar, the border town in Malaysia opposite Songkhla's Sadao district. Trains would reach speeds of up to 250km/h.

Future cooperation would also cover land development and technology transfer, he said.

"This issue must be put on the national agenda so that it can be sped up quickly," Mr Sohpon said. He hoped significant progress would be made on the project by next year.

The Rayong, Nong Khai and Padang Besar routes are tipped as most likely to be built first.

The results of the negotiations with China would require parliamentary approval to move forward, Mr Sophon said.

The minister said the high-speed train project would be a government-to-government deal. It would be separate from a 170 billion baht project to improve the State Railway of Thailand's existing network.

Mr Sohpon was asked during yesterday's session why China was the only country being considered for the partnership.

He said the country was interested in investing in Thailand and the region, and had also signed an agreement to build a railway to Laos.

Mr Sohpon said Thailand would remain open to proposals from other countries to develop rail networks.